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Published Winter 2021

The Best Christmas Present Ever

ARE you ready for Christmas? I think the first Christmas ad I saw on TV this year was in September; they seem to be earlier each year.

And this year, we are told, we need to be ready extra early. After the headlines of 2020 ‘Christmas Cancelled By Covid’, this year it seems that Christmas is going to be ruined by shortages. If you want turkey for your Christmas dinner, buy it now! If you want your Brussel sprouts, buy them now! And your mince pies and Christmas pudding. And unless you buy it now, there will be no Barbie doll for little Rosie under the Christmas tree (which of course you have already got in the back garden), and no scooter for little Jimmy either. Apparently parents are phoning toy shops in tears trying to get hold of ‘must have’ gifts.

The pressure to spend now before it’s too late is only going to increase. We are bombarded with adverts encouraging us to buy the latest gadgets, this year’s ‘in’ toy or game. They show us excited children opening presents under the massive, beautifully decorated tree. We see tables laden with rich fare. We are told that this is what Christmas is about. Plentiful food, lots of presents, families laughing and sharing together, snow falling outside. All that matters is the good time now, leave paying for it to another day, after all, what is really important is happy children getting what they want.

But what of the reality? Is Christmas really about overeating and drinking; buying presents we can’t really afford, receiving presents we don’t really need?

The Bible tells us differently. The Bible tells us that there is only one present that we really need this Christmas, or any Christmas. Anyone can receive it, it lasts forever (no batteries required), and best of all you don’t need to break the bank, because it is totally free. It is the precious gift of a relationship with God, through Jesus Christ. Jesus was born a baby in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, preached His way round what we know as the Holy Land, was crucified in Jerusalem, and raised to life on Easter Sunday. He came so that we can know forgiveness, peace, joy, and contentment. He came because he loves us, and wants a relationship with us.

Why not come along to Arundel Baptist Church this Christmas and find out for yourself about this amazing free gift. A good choice would be our “Six Lessons and Carols” service on Sunday 19th December (mince pies included). Or maybe even our Christmas Morning Celebration. It could make this Christmas the best ever for you.

Pastor, Arundel Baptist Church

The Best Christmas Present Ever

THERE is an atmosphere at Christmas that suggests there is something more important happening than the usual daily routine. Apart from essential services we shut down for the day, get together and celebrate. We do that as a society at other times of the year as well such as Easter. Although we may not completely forget that ‘something more important’ it tends to go to the back of our minds for the rest of the year as we seemingly ‘get on with life’. That ‘something more important’ is the birth of Jesus, who is the ‘Word made flesh’ and God with us each and every day of the year. Although each day cannot be like Christmas Day – we would all soon be exhausted and fed up with that level of intensity. But each Sunday and Feast Day we can remember that ‘something more important’ and in the way we treat one another we can see that ‘something more important’ before us, for he says to us I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it to me. Our yearly celebration of Christmas not only reminds us that there is ‘something more important’ than our daily round, but also there is something more to life – the God who loves us who is shown in the gift of the life of his Son Jesus Christ. Happy Christmas.

Arundel Cathedral

Bell Christmas Message 2021

BACK in March 2020, just as the first lockdown began to take hold, my son asked if I thought it would all be over in time for his wedding in July. “Of course,” I said confidently, “by the summer we’ll be back to normal.” How wrong could I have been? Eventually, a year later, his wedding did finally take place, although sadly none of his American bride’s close friends were able to join us.

Now, as I sit writing this, another autumn is just beginning to take hold and members of the medical profession are warning that a difficult Covid-and-flu-filled winter lies ahead. After so much pain, after losing so many, after such financial hardship and being separated from our loved ones, our cry must surely be ‘How long, O Lord?’ It’s a cry that echoes that of the ancient psalmist: ‘How long, O Lord? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all the day?’

And yet, despite the tangible pain of the psalmist’s lament, Psalm 13 also communicates a note of profound hope: ‘But I have trusted in thy steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.’

That hope and salvation took flesh in the birth of a child in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. For this child was Emmanuel, a name that means God-with-us. This is the joyous news of Christmas. In the darkest days of winter every church, be it small or great, proclaims the good news that in Christ God is with us.

Does this mean that all out woes are at an end—that the icy grip that held the land of Narnia for so long has suddenly given way to a new spring? In one sense, no. The pain and grief of this world remains. And yet, at the same time it does herald an eternal spring, bringing reassurance and the promise that ultimately all will be well. For as Christians know, the darkness of the cross leads to the joy of resurrection – the two belong together.

So, as you gather with your family this Christmas – and I certainly pray that you can – remember that despite the inevitable cries of pain that punctuate our lives, and the times of despair and isolation, in the Christ-child God is truly with us and he alone can lead us to the place where the sorrows of this world are no more – to salvation as the psalmist puts it. Knowing that reality deep in your heart really does make all the difference and truly gives you something to celebrate.

I wish you a blessed and hope-filled Christmas

St Nicholas Arundel

Online Services from Arundel Churches

Arundel Cathedral

Information on Live Streams, current, planned & completed is available on the Cathedral website,
Streamed services are available at 11.15 each Sunday on the Arundel Cathedral Live YouTube channel,

St. Nicholas Church

Members of the congregation receive a weekly newsletter online from Canon David Twinley with information about services, etc. Videos of Canon David’s celebration of the Eucharist at 10.00am each Sunday since 23rd March (including Easter) are available through the church’s website also a series of illustrated talks on Martin Luther and the first of a series on the Letters of St. Paul.